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Congolese refugees' PTSD dramatically reduced by Transcendental Meditation
by Global Good News staff writer
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27 April 2013
A study recently published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress highlighted the potential life-changing effects of Transcendental Meditation for African refugees with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
According to the study's designers, the implications of the results are huge. They say that Transcendental Meditation is a low-cost and effective method that could help the tens of millions of Africans who suffer from PTSD.
Colonel Brian Rees, MD, MPH, Medical Corps, US Army Reserve, was lead author of the study. He has had unique experience working with people with PTSD, but mainly from a US military perspective. Col Rees pointed out that, in fact, most Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers are not in the military at all.
'From a global perspective, more civilians are likely to be afflicted with PTSD, more so even than soldiers. Even when the doctrine of armies, such as NATO and US forces, explicitly strives to support civilians, still the aggressive nature of armies and access to firepower leads to civilian casualties and to stress.'
Col. Rees is a Transcendental Meditation teacher and has had seven tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is the predominance of PTSD among civilians in Africa and the general lack of available treatment that inspired the study's leaders to conduct their research with Congolese refugees as subjects.
Col. Rees explained that over five million people were killed in the second Congo war by 2008, and millions more displaced. 'In that conflict,' he said, 'support for civilians was not particularly made a priority.' Millions of Congolese were severely stressed by the terrible events of the war, 'and many then endured the further stressor associated with being refugees, with all the absence of support that status implies'.
The results from the study, showing dramatic relief from PTSD symptoms within 30 days of learning Transcendental Meditation, inspired the creation of a project called 'African PTSD Relief'.
See related article: Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African refugees, study finds
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